Why Did Barney Go To Jail? A Look at the Legalities of Blogging

In one of the more bizarre tales of celebrity incarceration, Barney Stinson, aka “Barney” from sitcom How I Met Your Mother, has been spending time behind bars. Even by the law-and-order standards of our celebrity obsessed culture, it seems like Barney’s run-in with the law has been unusually bizarre. But what if there’s a grain of truth to his being locked up? Could it be that he was guilty of a crime? The short answer is yes – but not the kind you’d expect. In this article we look at why Barney went to jail and what legalities stand in his way from writing again.

Barney’s Legal Troubles Start Way Back When…

Like many celebrities, Barney Stinson’s beginning as a celebrity is intertwined with his start in law enforcement. In fact, his meteoric rise to stardom was connected to his work as a New York City Police detective. While Stinson’s career in law enforcement spanned only a decade, it was enough time to make an impact on the field of law enforcement. As a result, Stinson was able to pass on his knowledge and experience as a police detective to his fellow officers. This is evident in his frequently quoted line, “There are people who think the job of a police officer is to be a policeman and people who think the job of a police officer is to protect and serve.”

Barney’s Legal Troubles Run as Deep as the Post-Barney Digest

Barney’s run-in with the law began while he was serving in the Village “P.I.” department of the NYPD. The post-OOH Barney Stinson we know today was a rookie officer when he got into an altercation with a man who had stolen property from a Brooklyn address. The man was later revealed to be a drug dealer, and it’s likely that the incident was tied to drug trafficking. When Stinson stopped the man, the dealer punched Stinson in the face and broke his eye socket. It turned out that the man was also responsible for another officer’s injury, when the officer was punched in the groin by the man’s associate. As a result of the man’s attack on Stinson, Stinson was promoted to detective and transferred to the Narcotics Bureau. From there, he was assigned to the Narcotics Squad, which dealt with large-scale drug trafficking in and around New York City. During this time, Stinson was involved in several high-profile cases, including the investigation that eventually led to the conviction of association of terrorism and the failed assassination attempt on Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

…And then there was His Drug Use

While Stinson’s stint in the Police Department would come to an end after 10 years, he would keep on trading blows with the criminal justice system. With his stardom as a TV star, he was able to win a host of sobriety-related perks, like substance-free tasting parties and weekly AA meetings. But soon after he got clean and sober, it became apparent that he still had a problem with drugs. During an interview on David Letterman’s show in May 2005, he admitted to using marijuana regularly for about 10 years. “I’ve done everything the Drug Enforcement Agency said, I’ve done everything the campaign said, I’ve done everything the government said. I’ve done everything I can do,” he said. “But you know what?” “This one’s on the mark. This one’s on the mark.”

Is That All?

After his admission, Stinson was sentenced to two years in a state prison, suspended after 18 months and required to participate in drug-treatment programs. But at the time of his crimes, he was a member of the New York City Police Department and was therefore subject to the Drug-Free Policing Act of 2010. That law was intended to help police reduce the use of drugs by creating a stricter standard for going to drug-free zones in apartment buildings and public areas. The law also included a provision that allowed law enforcement agencies to waive the requirements for certain policies if they considered the policy integral to the safety of law-abiding people in the communities they serve.


Ultimately, Barney’s run-in with the law was a result of several factors, including his celebrity status, the difficulty of the law, and his willingness to accept the offer of a plea bargain. But regardless of all that, it’s important to remember that he went to jail for a very different reason. Now, he just needs to wait out his sentence and get his life back together before he can return to the small screen and his family.

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